According to scientists, after getting into the water, the iceberg began to split into smaller pieces. “What we are seeing is both beautiful and terrifying. The images show that the glacier is reacting sharply to climate change,”said Mark Drinkwater, a spokesman for the European Space Agency.
Despite the fact that icebergs chipping off is a natural process, Drinkwater believes that the rate of glacier melting observed in West Antarctica is much higher than in other regions. In his opinion, an imbalance is observed in the glacial system, which has appeared due to global warming, an increase in the water level in the ocean and a decrease in the amount of snowfall.
According to experts, if all the ice in the Pine Island massifs and the neighboring Thwaites glacier melted, the sea level would rise by 1.2 m.
In October 2019, an iceberg weighing 315 billion tons broke away from the Aymery Ice Shelf in East Antarctica. The last time such a large iceberg broke away from the Aymery Glacier was in the early 1960s. Then the area of the iceberg was 9 thousand square kilometers.
Since 1992, the Antarctic ice sheet has lost about three trillion tons of ice, the journal Nature wrote. The water that emerged from the melting of the glacier could be enough to cover an area the size of the US state of Texas with a four-meter layer.
In Antarctica, melting occurs because of the warm water that melts the glaciers. And there the water is getting warmer because the winds change direction due to global warming. More than 70% of the melting occurs in West Antarctica.